Vancouver's Living with Lions are back with album number five, their first since 2011's 'Holy Shit'. 'Island' comes with 11 excellent new songs full of big, melodic hooks while also staying true to their punk roots. We caught up with vocalist Chase Brenneman who was kind enough to talk us through every single song on the album.
'Island' is out now via the band's own label, Bloom Records (distributed via No Sleep Records & Redfield Records).
'All The Same (intro)'
We’re definitely not a political band. I mean we all have our own political ideals and values and are somewhat involved in our personal lives, but we’ve never really commented on anything in our music. However this time around I felt like I wanted to say something about the political climate in the west.. especially in the US. The lyrics are fairly cryptic and metaphorical, which is probably just me subconsciously trying to tone down the political aspect of this song. This song is really about everyone being against each other and not really taking the time to understand one another. Everyone thinks they’re right and the other person is wrong, period. I’ve always felt if you want to try to bridge the gap, or heal the divide.. however you want to put it, you have to be willing to sit down and listen.
The Second Narrows is a bridge I had to drive over almost every day to get home. This song is about dealing with heartache and lying.. people who claim they want the best for you but constantly lie and hurt you. I guess the bridge is a symbol for safety and comfort. Every time I get to the bridge I know home is only a few minutes away.
This song is somewhat of a cliche but it was one of those opportunities to get some stuff off my chest so to speak. Mostly the song talks about being in a toxic relationship with someone, two people that are equally as bad for each other. The chorus is about wanting to get away from someone so badly you'd do just about anything
This was a really hard song to write. While we were writing this record my uncle passed away unexpectedly. I was really close with my uncle, my whole family was. Some of my first memories are at my auntie and uncles place in Vancouver. I remember looking through his record collection when I was little and thats kind of where the song name comes from. I knew I wanted to write about my uncle somehow but I didn’t really want to write anything sad.. I don’t think that really would have represented who he was. I tried to write a song that represented some of the grief we went through.. regrets I had.. most importantly though, something that celebrated his memory.
I write a lot of songs about people I know, personal relationships, friendships.. good or bad. For me, when I write about bad relationships or experiences I’ve had with people, I can get pretty dark and hostile. I tend to really villainize people that have done wrong in my eyes.. I guess it’s a way to finally get things off my chest. With this song I looked in, towards my self a little bit more. I’m obviously not a perfect person and I know I’ve hurt people before. This song was written about those situations where I knew what I was doing was wrong or hurtful but I did it anyways. It’s kind of a confessional in a sense. More specifically it’s about times where I had a chance to possibly do something good, and chose to be an asshole instead. I felt like recognizing and admitting my mistakes was a good way to help me never make them again. If I’m going to call other people out, it’s only fair to call myself out as well
'On A Rope'
On A Rope is about reflecting on my late teens early 20s. When Lions started touring, it was all of our first times in different cities and countries, living alone in Vancouver. When it came to caring about getting into trouble, paying bills on time, making money, going to work.. we were pretty indifferent. I don’t really know if thats a good thing or a bad thing, but having that attitude made for some of the best times and memories from that era of my life.
I guess it’s a song about not giving a fuck about anything and eventually realizing things you do have consequences and can have a negative effect on people
This is by far and away the oldest song on the record. We originally wrote this song for “Holy Shit” but it never made the cut for that record. We recorded it again for “Some Of My Friends Appear Dead To Me” EP but it never made it on that either. Loren has always really loved this song so we sat down and worked on it and finally finished it for this record. My friend Chris helped me write some of the words to this song.. and because its so old, it also has a bit of Matt Postal’s (original LWL singer) lyrics in it as well. This is kind of a straight ahead punk rock vibey song. Old LWL fans will dig it for sure.
Night Habits is the “slow jam” on Island. We tried to make the pre chorus’s really trippy on this one. I also got to records the first ever guitar solo on an LWL record (even though it’s not much of a solo). This song is about fighting.. fighting so much you don’t even know what you’re fighting for or why you’re fighting anymore.
Matt Postal, the original LWL singer wrote the chorus for this song. It’s one of my favourites on the record. We almost cut this song but after not hearing it for a while we decided we liked it too much to take off. Bill and I wrote the music for this song in my bedroom when we first started writing for this record a few years ago. I think I just followed Matt’s lead lyrically. I wrote about my neighbourhood in Vancouver and how you can feel stuck in a rut at times.. how it can be hard to look on the bright side.
'Another Ordinary Summer'
Landon brought us this idea way early on during the writing process. This song as my favourite bridge in it. I love this song as a whole but thats for sure my favourite part. This was another one of the first songs that we wrote for the record and I think it has a lot of classic LWL elements to it. I wrote this one about someone I used to see a lot, lived far away and lost touch with over time. It can be hard to keep things together after being apart so much for so long.
This was for sure the hardest song for me to write lyrically on the record. Loren came to us with this idea, it was the last song we wrote for this record. We kind of wrote is as an ender right off the bat and it worked perfectly. We had someone very close to us going through one of the most difficult times in their life while we were writing this record and I wanted to kind of write a song to tell him how much we loved him. It has a lot to do with addiction and mental illness, but I didn’t want to make it a dark or sad song. I just wanted him to know that we were thinking about him and loved him… I hope thats the message people can take away from this song in particular. Theres always people that will love you unconditionally no matter what you’re going through and its important to tell people dealing with shit that they’re loved and you’re there for them.